CLYBURN HAILS HOUSE PASSAGE OF SPENDING PACKAGE THAT DELIVERS FOR SOUTH CAROLINA

Dec 22, 2020

COLUMBIA, SC – Today, U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn (SC-06) applauded House passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Package, 2021, which includes critical support for South Carolina communities. 

"I am pleased that this legislation contains significant investments in South Carolina communities,” said Congressman Clyburn. “It is especially essential during this pandemic that every American have affordable access to health care, education, housing, internet, and economic opportunity.  The investments in this bill will make progress in all of these areas throughout South Carolina and the Sixth Congressional District.”

Congressman Clyburn’s statement on the national impact of the coronavirus relief provisions of the legislation is available here.  Summaries of the bill are available here, arranged by subject matter:

Below are Congressman Clyburn’s priorities for South Carolina that are included in the package:

Persistent Poverty 
This legislation applies Congressman Clyburn’s 10-20-30 framework—designed to ensure that at least 10 percent of funds are spent in counties with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent over the last 30 years, and that all impoverished communities receive their fair share of federal investment—to 18 spending programs, an all-time high.  These targeted investments will help expand opportunity in these communities and empower them to emerge from persistent poverty. 

Broadband Internet 
The bill appropriates more than $730 million for rural broadband investment through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including $635 million for the ReConnect program, $80 million more than Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.  These appropriated funds are in addition to the $7 billion for broadband internet in the COVID-19 portion of the package: $3.2 billion to help low-income families afford service (a version of which is also included in Congressman Clyburn’s Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act), $1.9 billion for small providers to replace Huawei/ZTE equipment with equipment that is secure, $1 billion to support connectivity on tribal lands, $300 million to fund broadband in rural areas, $285 million to connect minority communities, $250 million for telehealth, and $65 million to complete up-to-date broadband coverage maps. The package also establishes a new Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. This Office will be tasked with expanding access and adoption of high-speed broadband service, as well as coordinating federal funds for broadband infrastructure spending. This authorization was also included in the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act. 

Eviction Prevention/Affordable Housing
According to a recent analysis, 52% of South Carolina renter households are at risk of eviction.  This legislation includes $20 million in grants for organizations to provide legal assistance to at-risk, low-income tenants, consistent with the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020, a bill Congressman Clyburn introduced earlier this year.   In addition, the COVID-19 relief portion of the package includes $25 billion in rental assistance distributed by states and localities and extends the current eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.  Finally, the bill strengthens the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to spur construction of more affordable housing; Congressman Clyburn introduced a bill to boost the credit in 2018.

Lake Marion Regional Water System
This legislation sustains the FY20 increased allocation of $100 million for the Environmental Infrastructure account within Army Corps of Engineers Construction.  The explanatory statement accompanying the bill includes language stating, “The Corps is reminded that the Lakes Marion and Moultrie regional water supply project is eligible to compete for additional funding provided” under the Continuing Authorities Program. This funding will allow the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency to address unmet funding needed to bring clean drinking water access and economic development to Berkeley, Calhoun, Dorchester, and Orangeburg counties.  

Water Resources Development Act
The omnibus package includes the final version of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes:

  • Lake Marion Regional Water System – increases the project’s authorization from $89,550,000 to $110,000,000.
  • Eagle and Chandler Creeks – authorizes a flood control study through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Continuing Authorities Program for Eagle and Chandler Creeks in Dorchester County.
  • Charleston Inland Flooding - authorizes a new Corps of Engineers feasibility study for inland and tidal flooding in the Charleston.

Charleston Harbor 
The legislation requires the Army Corps of Engineers to spend at least $35 million to reimburse non-federal sponsors of projects like the Charleston Harbor deepening, and more than $20 million in funding for Charleston Harbor maintenance.

Rural Energy Savings Program 
The legislation includes $11 million for the Rural Energy Savings Program, an initiative originally introduced by Congressman Clyburn in 2010 that provides low-interest micro-loans to residents and small businesses in rural areas to fund energy efficiency improvements that bring down electric bills.

Savannah River Site 
The bill passed today includes $1.532 billion for the Savannah River Site.  This includes $25 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative facility on the campus of USC – Aiken and $11.549 million for Community and Regulatory Support, which funds Payment in Lieu of Taxes that funds schools, emergency services, and county operations in Allendale, Aiken, and Barnwell counties.

Telehealth/MUSC 
The bill includes $34 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Telehealth program—a $5 million increase above FY20—including $6.5 million for Telehealth Centers of Excellence—a $500,000 increase above FY20.  The Medical University of South Carolina is one of those Centers, and it provides over 100 telehealth services to nearly 350 sites in 44 counties, including 40 hospitals, over 80 schools, and nearly 200 community clinics and other facilities.

Community Health Centers 
This legislation appropriates $1.7 billion in discretionary funds for Community Health Centers for FY 21, an increase of $57 million, and provides $4 billion per year in mandatory funding for Community Health Centers through FY 23.  Community Health Centers are also eligible to receive funds through the Provider Relief Fund established by the CARES Act, which receives an additional $3 billion in this bill. 

Southeast Crescent Regional Commission 
The legislation provides $1 million for the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission, a significant funding increase that will enable the commission to ramp up efforts to promote economic development in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

National Park Service National Networks 
This legislation includes $1.5 million for the national networks of the National Park Service.  One of these national networks is the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network, which includes four sites in South Carolina and is managed by the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park in Beaufort County.

Historic Preservation 
The bill includes over $21.125 million in funding for historic preservation grants of sites from the Civil Rights Movement. 

It also includes $10 million for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Preservation Program, the funding level authorized by Congressman Clyburn’s bill that was enacted into law last year.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) will benefit from several items in this legislation in addition to the HBCU Historic Preservation Program.  Of the $22.7 billion provided for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund within the COVID-19 relief portion of the package, $1.7 billion is for HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and certain other institutions.  HBCUs are eligible for the $285 million provided to connect minority communities to broadband internet.  

Within FY21 appropriations:

  • $81.3 million is provided for the HBCU/Minority Institution program within the Department of Defense, an increase of more than $40 million over FY20.  
  • $48.4 million is provided for the HBCU Capital Financing Program, a $2 million increase over FY20.  
  • Within Department of Education Aid for Institutional Development programs, the bill provides:
    • $337.6 million for Strengthening HBCUs (increase of nearly $13 million);
    • $87.3 million for Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions ($3.3 million increase); 
    • nearly $11 million for Strengthening HBCU Masters programs ($1 million increase).  
  • The following funding amounts are provided to 1890 institutions through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture:
  • $73 million for research through the Evans-Allen Program;
  • $26 million for education grants; 
  • $10 million for scholarships; 
  • $62 million for extension services;
  • $21.5 million for facility improvements. 
  • $6 million is provided for HBCUs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development Policy Development and Research. 
  • $36.5 million is provided for the National Science Foundation HBCU Undergraduate Program. 

University of South Carolina 
This legislative package provides funding for several activities which the University of South Carolina has indicated they plan to pursue, including power and energy systems in navy technology, unmanned logistics solutions, and research in the use of biopolymers to support water distribution and regulation and energy systems.

The Citadel 
The bill includes $10 million for cyber institutes, which are located at The Citadel and the other five Senior Military Colleges. These funds facilitate further development of cyber curriculum offerings, cyber experiential events for K-12 student and teachers, support for underserved and minority cyber students, cyber internship and co-op opportunities, and mentorship of other universities seeking to establish DOD cyber pipelines.

Clemson University 
This legislative package funds activities which Clemson University has indicated they plan to pursue, including prototyping energy smart autonomous ground systems for combat vehicles and industry grade optical fiber fabrication for energy laser research.  The explanatory statement accompanying the bill passed today also makes clear that previous House report language supporting exploration of the potential use of high and ultra-high temperature ceramic-matrix composites in hypersonic flight carries the same weight as language in today’s explanatory statement itself.

Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership 
This legislation provides $150 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which is an increase of $4 million above the FY20 funding level.  The Hollings MEP is a nationwide network of centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico that help manufacturers successfully grow their businesses.